Categories: Sales and Distribution
My company has developed a SaaS solution for the publishing industry with all current development work self-funded. Customers are starting to approach us regarding the development of new features which are a long way down our development roadmap due to high cost and limited appeal.
My question is simple. How do I convince these customers to fund or co-fund the development work without restricting me from introducing the feature to other customers (possibly competitors to the original customer) at a later date.
Some of these features may be rolled into the products existing pricing policy (increasing customer volume) while others will be sold as value-added modules.
We have come up with two ideas.
1) Group buy. We present the development idea to all our customers, divide the development cost between the interested parties, offer interested parties exclusive password access for 12-months, then make the feature available to all. During the first 12-months, new interested parties would pay a 'joining fee'.
2) Cash back. Lead customer fully funds the development and gets exculsive access for 12-months. If another customer wants the feature in the first 12-months they pay a joining fees which triggers a cash-back to the original customer.
These are just theories. I would really welcome advice from other companies that have busted this problem in real life.